Last week we spent a few days in Paris with the Supra team as they passed through on their European tour. On the Monday we made our way to the Supra offices to meet up with Jim Greco. I was a little nervous, and somewhat underprepared after stupidly leaving my laptop at the hotel, however Jim was more than accommodating. Hopefully the interview came out ok...
How’s the tour going for you?
The tour is very nice, I’m having a lot of fun. Belgium is a beautiful place, we arrived in Paris last night. We’re staying in a nice hotel, the city is amazing and really fun to skate, you can skate around the city like a spot. We got to skate this fountain with all these ledges yesterday which was great.
When was the last time you were on a trip in Europe?
You’ve got a new shoe coming out, are you designing that from scratch?
We’re working on a couple of different ones, some improvements to my old one and then we’re working on a brand new one. The new one will be like a shoe from my dress shoe collection that we are turning into a skateboard shoe. It’s hard to get it right, a lot of back and forth, mostly with the last and how it fits your foot. With dress shoes it’s all in the last and the shape of the shoe.
"No drugs, and skateboarding about 80% of the week. That does it for me!"
What’s does that mean, the ‘last’?
The last is how it fits on your foot (Jim gestures to a steeze pair of dress shoes he’s rocking) you see this shoe ? It’s very slim in the mid section of the shoe and the toe gets pointier, and also the way it wraps around the bottom, here it has the definite look of a dress shoe.
The Janoski for example is a Sperry Top Sider that they converted into a skateable shoe. They really left the athletic aesthetic of the shoe intact, it’s more like a straight up vulcanized shoe. The same thing with a slip on, in essence it’s a dress loafer, but it’s lasted like an athletic shoe. What I’m doing with my shoe is lasting it more like a dress shoe, but just enough like an athletic shoe so that it can be functional for skateboarding. It won’t have as high a sole as an athletic shoe, but it won’t be as low as a dress shoe either. It just kinda falls in the middle, but in a good way, there’s been a lot of starting over again to make sure we get it correct.
The first time I attempted this was on my third shoe with Vans, about 13 years ago, it didn’t go very well because it was lasted more athletically. I just have to take the risk and say I’m going to last it more as a dress shoe. We’ll see how it goes, I’m waiting for some in my size, so we’ll see.
You're working on a new part to come out with the shoe?
Yeah, I am going to go to Italy and do a short film, it won’t be based around the shoe but it will integrate the shoe in there.
How do you keep in shape to continue skating?
Basically I treat my body a lot better now, I don’t take any drugs and I don’t drink, so that helps, and I skate 5 days a week for a few hours a day. That’s part of my life, I just do it by default. I live in downtown Los Angeles so I skate everywhere downtown. That’s how it is.
Just staying active consistently?
No drugs, and skateboarding about 80% of the week. That does it for me!
There’s a Deathwish video coming out, are you going to have stuff in that?
Yeah, I’ve been filming for the Deathwish video and I’m going to be helping to edit the video and put it all together. I’m flying out to shoot Keith (Hardy), he’s a new AM who rides for us, he lives in New York and we’re specially flying to shoot his part there. He rips, he uses the city as a skate spot, so to capture him there in his home environment is going to be really cool.
"I just skate everyday but I don’t feel any older, it’s weird."
What influences did you draw from when making The Way Out and Year 13 videos?People have said Scorsese, I was reminded of Vincent Gallo’s films…
Yeah Gallo’s films are beautiful and unique - he's great! I love The Deer Hunter by Michael Cimino too, it is incredible! John Cassavetes as an actor in Mikey and Nicky and in Love Streams, the films he directs like Women Under The Influence I love too.
I love the color in the early films that Dario Argento made. Early Jim Jarmusch and Wim Wenders influence me too, Jason Lee recently got me into Wenders' work. I can’t not mention Francis Ford Coppola, especially Rumblefish and The Outsiders, Martin Scorscese’s Who's That Knocking At My Door, and Mean Streets especially… there are so many films man!
Are there any filmmakers in skateboarding who’s work particularly interests you? I wondered if you’d be into Pontus Alv’s filmmaking given the autobiographical themes in his work?
I haven't seen any of Pontus' films in full, but he is creative man, his brand has a really unique look. The artwork is reminiscent of Picasso and Blender a little bit to me, and the bits of his films I have seen are cool, I like the jump ramp stuff especially.
If I’m focused on a project I don’t watch any of the new videos until the project is done because I don’t want to alter the outcome of what I’m doing, I watch stuff outside of skateboarding instead.
Once a project is finished I end up catching up on some videos and there is always the older stuff. Shawn Martin’s part in the Black Label Promo, Eastern Exposure, Rubbish Heap and so on. I like the original Baker videos, Strobeck’s edit of The Gonz where he talks about being dreary in the red shirt, the Blind video Mark Gonzales made, all the stuff that Jeremy Klein has ever put together - his section in The End is phenomenal. Jason Lee in A Visual Sound, there’s lot of stuff though. Even the way Lucien’s part was put together for Palace, I recently saw that one, it has a nice unique aesthetic.
Do you skate with Jeremy Klein regularly?
Yeah, I skate with him three to four times a week, he skates just as much as he did when I met him 25 years ago, it hasn’t changed at all.
It must help keep you feeling young?
I just skate everyday but I don’t feel any older, it’s weird. (laughs)
"I’m also working with Jason Lee, we’ve talked about collaborating together on a non-skateboard film"
Are you helping out with the JK Industries video?
No, that’s all Jeremy’s plan. When I go out skating with Jeremy the stuff that I film with him stays with him and he edits it together the way he wants, his video is going to be really cool.
There’s that guy from Europe too, Ludvig Håkansson? I don’t know much about him…
Jeremy sponsors him for JK Industries, I really like his skateboarding, his style is very original and he’s a real nice kid too, has a great personality. He doesn’t seem to bail many tricks, once he tries to do a trick on a ledge he lands it no matter what, it's awesome skating with him.
Do you have plans to do more film work outside of skateboarding?
Yeah I’m trying to write a film at the moment, I’m in the process of that right now, I’d say I’m about halfway done. I’m also working with Jason Lee, we’ve talked about collaborating on a non-skateboard film, that’s something we’ll co-direct together.
Are you able to say what the films will be about?
I could, but the first time I want to have the story be told is when the films come out. I don't want to effect their perception before.
You skate for Deathwish, have the Hammers project on the side - how important is it for you to have those personal projects going?
Very important, Hammers USA is just a very fun and creative outlet for me. I release boards a couple of times a year, a film once every year or two, it’s just a nice outlet for me to have, I love it.
Working on these shoes, getting them right, continuing to write my film. And just skating, skate every day. Stay creative.
Lots to look forward to then, thanks Jim!